Welcome to the AFRICOMMONS blog — by Ken Flottman
An American look at Kenya and the East Africa region, with emphasis on our relationships and activities in the area, and how those interests, relationships and activities impact the East Africans who live there. Since 2009.
As a lawyer for a major American defense contractor working primarily on U.S. Navy shipbuilding, I took “public service leave” to relocate to Nairobi with my family in 2007 as East Africa Resident Director for the International Republican Institute.
The democracy assistance work coincided with the December 2007 Kenyan general elections. The presidential vote was a catastrophic failure, rigged through the changing of vote tallies enabled, as best I understand, by bribery of election officials, and leading to both spontaneous and instrumental mass violence.
A key purpose of the blog has been to investigate this disaster through the Freedom of Information Act and other research and to build a record in addition to sharing my own experience.
My account of the experience and investigation was published in The Elephant in 2017 as “The Debacle of 2007: How Kenyan Politics Was Frozen and an Election Stolen with US Connivance“.
I managed a USAID-funded election observation and an exit poll that became the subject of considerable controversy as it contradicted the apparently rigged results announced by the Election Commission of an incumbent win, but was not released for several months–see my separate page on that subject.
It was a strange fortune to work for a non-partisan Republican Party-affliated democracy organization chaired by Senator John McCain, in Kenya, during the time that Sen. McCain and Sen. Barack Obama ran for and clinched the Republican and Democratic nominations for President of the United States, respectively, and the “Birther Movement”, later led by Donald Trump, was born in the United States.
Over the years I have become an engaged “Kenya watcher”, including additional consulting work and observation of the next Kenyan election in 2013, while moving from the defense industry to healthcare in my legal career. I published several other pieces around the elections in The Star in Nairobi in 2013 as well as The Elephant in 2017 and since.
Please e-mail me at africommons [at] gmail.com with questions or comments, and any suggestions to make this blog useful to you.